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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Both Palatable and Unpalatable Butterflies Use Bright Colors to Signal Difficulty of Capture to Predators

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Pinheiro, C. E. G. [1] ; Freitas, A. V. L. [2, 3] ; Campos, V. C. [1] ; DeVries, P. J. [4] ; Penz, C. M. [4]
Total Authors: 5
[1] Univ Brasilia, UnB, Inst Biol, Dept Zool, BR-70910900 Brasilia, DF - Brazil
[2] Univ Estadual Campinas, Dept Biol Anim, Campinas, SP - Brazil
[3] Univ Estadual Campinas, Museu Zool, Campinas, SP - Brazil
[4] Univ New Orleans, Dept Biol Sci, New Orleans, LA 70148 - USA
Total Affiliations: 4
Document type: Journal article
Source: Neotropical Entomology; v. 45, n. 2, p. 107-113, APR 2016.
Web of Science Citations: 12

Birds are able to recognize and learn to avoid attacking unpalatable, chemically defended butterflies after unpleasant experiences with them. It has also been suggested that birds learn to avoid prey that are efficient at escaping. This, however, remains poorly documented. Here, we argue that butterflies may utilize a variety of escape tactics against insectivorous birds and review evidence that birds avoid attacking butterflies that are hard to catch. We suggest that signaling difficulty of capture to predators is a widespread phenomenon in butterflies, and this ability may not be limited to palatable butterflies. The possibility that both palatable and unpalatable species signal difficulty of capture has not been fully explored, but helps explain the existence of aposematic coloration and escape mimicry in butterflies lacking defensive chemicals. This possibility may also change the role that putative Mullerian and Batesian mimics play in a variety of classical mimicry rings, thus opening new perspectives in the evolution of mimicry in butterflies. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/50225-3 - Natural history, phylogeny and conservation of Neotropical Lepidoptera
Grantee:André Victor Lucci Freitas
Support type: BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Regular Research Grants